How I Pick, Test, and Score Optics

Hi, I’m Richard Douglas. I run this one-man operation that’s all about bringing you the most reliable, honest scope reviews on the web. 

I believe in thorough testing and hands-on reviews. Here’s how I ensure that every scope and optics review on this site is something you can trust:

  • Unbiased: I fund all my reviews myself—no sponsorships, no free samples. If I do receive a tester scope, I’ll disclose it in the review. 
  • Direct Testing: Every scope reviewed is one I’ve personally put to the test. From mounting to rigorous shooting tests, I assess everything.
  • Long-term Commitment: I don’t do quick tests. I spend weeks with each product, using it under various conditions to see how it performs over time.
  • Technical Assessments: I evaluate scopes on multiple fronts—optical performance, reticle precision, durability under stress, and user-friendly features like eye relief and turret adjustments.

By the Numbers: Rating Optics I Review

In every review, you’ll find a By the Number section. Every optic is hand-tested and torture-tested. For scopes, I measure based on the following categories:

  • Glass Clarity & Reticle
  • Eye Relief & Eye Box
  • Durability
  • Elevation & Windage Knobs
  • Magnification & Parallax

And for red dots:

  • Accuracy
  • Battery life 
  • Durability
  • Ease of Use
  • Optical quality

Each aspect is rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. I also provide a brief explanation for each rating, helping you understand my assessment. At the conclusion of this section, I provide an overall rating for the scope, indicating whether or not I’d recommend it.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The heart of any scope is its optical quality. I test glass clarity rigorously, using a 1951 Air Force Resolution Target to determine how well the reticle maintains precision without obscuring the view. A crisp, clear reticle is crucial for accurate targeting, especially under varied lighting conditions. Ranges from 50 to 500 yards to test clarity, accuracy, and reticle effectiveness under various shooting conditions.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

Long shooting sessions require comfort, which is largely provided by adequate eye relief. I test scopes to ensure they offer generous and consistent eye relief to prevent scope eye. I also assess the forgiving nature of the eye box across various shooting positions, which is essential for achieving a quick and clear sight picture without strain.

Durability

A scope must be as tough as the environment it’s used in. I select scopes known for their ruggedness and test them under extreme conditions—recoil, weather, and physical abuse—to mimic real-world use. This ensures that the scopes can withstand the rigors of active shooting and harsh outdoor elements. Durability checks including drop tests to ensure each scope can handle the bumps and knocks of real-world use.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Adjustability is key in shooting accuracy. I prefer scopes with tactile and audible feedback on their elevation and windage knobs. My tests include extensive tracking drills to verify that adjustments are precise and that the scope maintains zero over a variety of conditions and distances.

Magnification & Parallax

Versatility in magnification allows a scope to be adaptable to different shooting distances. I evaluate scopes for their range of magnification and the effectiveness of their parallax adjustment. This testing ensures that the scope provides clear and accurate targeting at various ranges without reticle shift.

Mounting & Accessories

The reliability of a scope also depends on its mounting system. I test different mounting solutions to ensure they can be installed easily and remain secure after multiple shots. I follow standard procedures to mount and zero each scope, noting the ease and any challenges encountered. Additionally, I consider the utility of accessories like sunshades and protective covers, which can enhance a scope’s functionality and longevity.

If you have any questions or need advice on choosing the right scope, feel free to reach out through my contact page. Also, check out my in-person Beginner to Advanced Rifle Scopes Course if you want to master how to use rifle scopes.

How is This Site Funded?

I make money through affiliate links. Here’s how it works:

  1. You read my comprehensive reviews completely free
  2. If you found it helpful, you can click on my Amazon affiliate link to say ‘thank you’
  3. When you make a purchase, I get a small ‘thank you’ commission (between 1-5% on average) at no extra cost to you
How I Make Money Illustration

In turn, I use this ‘thank you’ commission money to keep the site running. It helps me put food on my table, keep annoying ads off the site, and keeps the honest reviews coming. Speaking of which… 

Disclosures & Transparency

I believe in full transparency and honesty. 

First, I pay for each (and every) scope I review. I never accept paid reviews, product placements, or manufacturer ‘contributions’. These contributions make the review biased. If I do accept a reviewer product (which is rare), I’ll disclose it in the beginning. And even so, I make it very clear to manufacturers that I don’t promise positive reviews. 

Second, I earn money from affiliate links. When you buy through my affiliate link, I get a small commission (usually between 1-4%). I don’t know what you buy, and it doesn’t change the price you pay. This income helps me buy more optics to review unbiasedly and, quite literally, keeps the lights on at home.

Third, a legal disclaimer. To the extent permitted by law, Scopes Field is not liable for any losses or damages resulting from the use of my website. My website may include links to external websites for your convenience. Scopes Field does not endorse, sponsor, or approve the content on these external sites. I’m not responsible for the availability or content of these sites, nor for any loss or damage that may arise from accessing these sites or using the internet in general. I strive to ensure the quality of content on this site, but I cannot guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information and suggestions provided. By using my website, you accept and agree to the terms of this disclaimer. Read more on my Privacy Policy page.

Fourth, I love guns.